Allianz National Football League Division 3 - Round 5
Cavan . . . . . . 1-9 Longford . . . . . . 0-10
Longford were second best against Cavan for most of the National Football League clash at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday and ended up losing by two points, a result which leaves Jack Sheedy’s side in a fierce battle to avoid relegation in Division 3.
With pointless Offaly doomed to the dreaded drop into Division 4, Longford are currently fourth in the table but with only scores difference separating them from fellow strugglers Fermanagh, Wexford, Sligo and Limerick (all five counties having collected four points apiece) the demotion issue will go right down to the last round of fixtures on Sunday April 6th.
And with Longford facing difficult remaining games away to both Sligo (Sunday March 30th) and Wexford, the pressure is on for survival with at least one win required in the desperate bid to get out of trouble.
The decisive only goal in the game against Cavan came from a penalty converted by Martin Dunne in the 44th minute, awarded after a Longford player was penalised for handling on the ground in his frantic attempt to clear the ball off the line. In this same attack the always dangerous Kevin Tierney drove a shot against the crossbar and a scramble materialised before the penalty was given.
Longford were leading by 0-6 to 0-5 at that time but Cavan were dominating the exchanges right from the start of the second half and would have hit the front before that but for some poor finishing which almost proved costly.
Longford managed just two scores from play, through Brian Kavanagh and Michael Quinn, which tells it own story and all their other eight points came from frees converted by Sean McCormack.
And both sides ended the game with 14 players with Cavan’s Turlough Mooney first to go for a second yellow card offence in the 41st minute and Longford defender Colm P Smyth saw red when he was sent-off for a challenge on Martin Reilly for what appeared to be a harsh decision.
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum (Fr. Manning Gaels); Dermot Brady (Longford Slashers), Barry Gilleran (Longford Slashers), Enda Williams (Clonguish); Colm P Smyth (Abbeylara), Fergal Reilly (Fr. Manning Gaels), Shane Mulligan (Mullinalaghta St. Columba’s); Kevin Diffley (Ballymahon), Michael Brady (Longford Slashers); Padraig Gill (Fr. Manning Gaels), Mark Hughes (Killoe Emmet Og), Michael Quinn (Killoe Emmet Og, 0-1); Paul McKeon (Colmcille), Brian Kavanagh (Kilmacud Crokes, 0-1), Sean McCormack (Killoe Emmet Og, 0-8, all frees).
Subs:- Peter Foy (Longford Slashers) for M Hughes (black card, 1st minute); Francis McGee (Dromard) for P Gill (33 mins); Paul Barden (Clonguish) for P McKeon (57 mins); Darren Gallagher (St. Mary’s Granard) for F Reilly (57 mins); Peter Brady (Longford Slashers) for E Williams (66 mins); Brian Farrell (Mostrim) for M Brady (66 mins).
CAVAN: Conor Gilsenan; Joshua Hayes, Rory Dunne, Fergal Flanagan; Turlough Mooney, James McEnroe, Damien O’Reilly; Gearoid McKiernan (0-1), Killian Brady; Cian Mackey (0-1), Niall McDermott (0-2, one free), Martin Reilly (0-1); Kevin Tierney (0-2), Martin Dunne (1-2, goal from penalty, one point from free), Ronan Flanagan.
Subs:- Mark McKeever for D O’Reilly (40 mins); Michael Lyng for K Tierney (black card, 49 mins); Christopher Conroy for R Flanagan (69 mins); Philip Tinnely for K Brady (70 mins); Paul O’Connor for M Lyng (black card, 71 mins).
Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh).
Read the full report in the next edition of the Longford Leader, on sale on Wednesday